Windows Vista: Sold but not deployed

Microsoft says it remains happy with enterprise sales of Vista -- however, the software behemoth acknowledges that many businesses who have bought Vista licences are yet to deploy the software.

Microsoft says it remains happy with enterprise sales of Vista -- however, the software behemoth acknowledges that many businesses which have bought Vista licences are yet to deploy the software.

"We have had a 27 percent increase in [Vista volume licence sales]. One of the benefits [for customers] is access to the next version of Windows and the other is access to the Enterprise edition [of Vista], which has its own unique features," Microsoft Australia's director of Windows Business Group, Jeff Putt, told ZDNet Australia.

"We have seen record sales in enterprise agreements. We measure ... how many seats are assigned to licensing and how many Windows users we are getting," said Putt.

However, when asked how many organisations with an enterprise agreement had actually deployed Windows Vista, Putt admitted that just because the companies had paid for licences, it did not mean they had rolled out the operating system yet.

"Deployment is a different issue. We have seen record [enterprise agreements] and that is an intention to deploy. The first step in a business using [Vista] is agreeing to use it," he said.

According to Putt, most computers sold in the past two years are able to run Vista but enterprises are still holding back deployment to ensure their current hardware is Vista-compatible and there are no conflicts with legacy applications.

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"At launch we had sub-one million drivers available, by April we had about 1.4 million and in October we were at 2.3 million device drivers.

"There is always going to be [driver issues for] that four year old printer but now we are at that stage where it is just the four-year old printer -- not that four-month old printer," said Putt, who claimed that deployments should increase in 2008 as "98 percent of possible devices are now covered".

Issues around compatibility of older hardware has been something of a sore point for Microsoft, recently resulting in a US class action suit where PC buyers have claimed some systems advertised as "Vista capable" were not able to run the software properly. The suit alleges that the marketing around Vista was designed to deliberately mislead potential customers.

In October, Microsoft reported a 25 percent increase in revenue from the unit that sells Windows for notebook and desktop PCs. At the time, the company said it had sold 88 million copies of the operating system.

Putt said that although the biggest selling version of Windows Vista is the Home Premium edition, he is happy with sales to enterprise customers.

At least one Australian customer claims to have deployed Microsoft's new operating system. Australian Customs Services' chief information officer Murray Harrison said last month that Vista had already been deployed to three-quarters of the department's 6,000 PCs.

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